Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Bullying increases

A report from  shows that 20% of teen students in the US said they were bullied in the 2016-17 school year, and of those, 15% were bullied online or via text, a 3.5 percentage point increase over the previous year. The researcher stated that the spike may be due to increased awareness and reporting of cyberbullying incidents.
Seigfried-Spellar , K. (2019). Bullying. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Media Literacy Education

Media literacy is being defined in multiple ways, in part, because it represents various fields, including core subjects as well as journalism, political science and sociology, according to a recent  report. The report identifies the need for a more unified approach and an interdisciplinary commission, plus strategies to assess media literacy.
Huguet, Alice, Jennifer Kavanagh, Garrett Baker, and Marjory S. Blumenthal, Exploring Media Literacy Education as a Tool for Mitigating Truth Decay. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2019. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR3050.html. Also available in print form.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Self-identification and problem-solving

Young students who understand they have "multiple identities" -- such as being a sibling, student and athlete -- have improved creative problem-solving skills, according to a recent study. The findings show that the students are four times as likely to consider various ways to solve a problem, compared with their peers.
Gaither, G. (2019).  Thinking about multiple identities boosts children's flexible thinking. Developmental Science (May 19). https://doi.org/10.1111/desc.12871

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Remaking Videos

In analyzing 93 video remakes, inspired by the video "Love Language," researchers found that producing remake videos may enhance media literacy competencies by offering a means for youth to develop creative skills through strategic imitation.
Hobbs, R., & Friesem, Y. (2019). The creativity of imitation in remake videos. E-Learning and Digital Media.

Teachers' Need for More Technology Help

While novice teachers may have grown up using technology as "digital natives," two new studies discussed find they still may need support in using education technology in the classroom. One researcher found that teacher training on technology did not always align with the skills new teachers need on the job, which became evident during student teaching. Preservice teachers also have difficulty choosing appropriate technology for their classroom
Karr, K. (2017).  A phenomological study of first-career millennial novice elementary school teachers' use of technology. Doctoral dissertation, Liberty University.
Webber, K. (2019). Are preservice teachers prepared for their technology integrated future classrooms? Paper presented at ISTE conference, June, Philadelphia.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Unused Software Report

About 67% of software licenses held by schools go unused, according to a 20-19  study from. The report recommends that school leaders properly plan for software rollouts and measure return on investment more carefully.
Education return on investment. (2019). Huntsville, AL: Glimpse K12

K-12 Online Education Report

“After years of rapid growth, full-time online education for K-12 students appears to be plateauing amid ongoing concerns about poor performance, financial mismanagement, and inadequate regulation and accountability structures. A collection of reports released by the group this week says that as of the 2017-18 school year, there were 501 full-time virtual K-12 schools in the U.S., enrolling more than 297,000 students. That represents less than 1 percent enrollment growth over the previous year.” (Education Week, June 7, 2019).
Virtual Schools in the U.S. 2019. By Alex Molnar. National Education Policy Center. May 2019. 125 p.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Outside Factors for Student Success Report

High-school graduation rates are trending upward, and prekindergarten enrollment and eighth-grade math proficiency have remained steady, according to a 2019 report. The report also examines how socioeconomic factors, health, family and community issues affect outcomes for students. For example, among children in low-income homes, 78% of 4th-graders score below the proficient level in reading, compared to 48% of children in moderate- and high-income families.
2019 Kids Count Data Book. Baltimore, MD: Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Computer Science Access Inequity Study

About 61% of high schools in California do not offer computer science education, according to a study. Research shows that about 3% of high schoolers were enrolled in such courses but students from rural, low-income areas and students of color have less access.
Kapor Center. (2019). Computer science in California's schools. Oakland, CA: Kapor Center.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Reading Gaps

Recent research questions the impact of poverty or summer reading slumps on reading achievement gaps. Von Hippel and his colleagues found that schools that attempt to relieve summer learning loss by more evenly spacing their 180 school days across the year are not associated with narrowed achievement gaps, However, schools that expanded their traditional school calendar to 210 days—often including some summer school or Saturdays—were associated with better achievement.
     In national data from the 2010 federal Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, there were no differences in the rates of reading progress for students in low- and high-poverty schools, in summer or during the school years from kindergarten through grade 2. Rather, the gap in reading performance seen at the start of kindergarten stayed fairly consistent throughout early elementary grades.
     Likewise, an analysis of data from the Northwest Evaluation Association's adaptive Measures of Academic Progress showed that reading achievement gaps between low- and high-poverty schools in in 15 states widened by about a third from kindergarten through grade 8, but it grew at the same rates in summer and the during the school year. More generally, expanded learning time has been associated with better achievement.

     von Hippel, P. T., & Hamrock, C. (2019). Do test score gaps grow before, during, or between the school years? Measurement artifacts and what we can know in spite of them. Sociological Science, 6, 43-80.
     Reardon, S. F. (2011). The widening academic achievement gap between the rich and the poor: New evidence and possible explanations. Whither opportunity, 91-116.
     Herbers, J. E., Cutuli, J. J., Supkoff, L. M., Heistad, D., Chan, C. K., Hinz, E., & Masten, A. S. (2012). Early reading skills and academic achievement trajectories of students facing poverty, homelessness, and high residential mobility. Educational Researcher, 41(9), 366-374.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Screentime Impact

A national survey finds that Americans of all ages are spending more time sitting. Overall, people reported sitting a lot. For instance, close to two-thirds of children and teens said they sat at least two hours a day watching television or videos. The data also showed that computer use outside of school or work has been increasing across all ages. For adults and teens, the estimated total time sitting increased by nearly one hour a day between 2007 and 2016. That means teens now sit more than eight hours a day. Sitting too much — especially when watching television, phones or other screens — can be bad for your health, research suggests. It has been linked to diseases such as diabetes and cancer. It also has been tied to an increased risk of mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression.
Yang, L. et al. (2019, April 23). Trends in sedentary behavior among the US population, 2001-2016. Journal of the American Medical Association, 321, 1587.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Who Should Teach Digital Citizenship?

New research examines the perceptions and beliefs of school librarians regarding state-mandated digital citizenship instruction in K–12 schools. Results from a statewide survey of Utah school librarians found that school librarians expressed a desire to be more involved in the instruction process. They need for more time, and desired consistent collaboration with teachers and administration.
Phillips, A., & Lee, V. (2019). Whose responsibility is it? A stateside survey of school librarians on responsibilities and resources for teaching digital citizenship.  School Library Research, 22.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Learning Style Limitations

Tailoring instruction to the way students say they prefer to learn does not improve outcomes, according to a study by researchers at the University of Michigan that calls into question the relevance of learning styles. Instead, educators should focus on using best practices in the classroom.
Nancekevell, S., Shah, P., & Gelman, S. (2019, May). Maybe they’re born with it, or  maybe it’s experience: Toward a deeper understanding of the learning style myth. Journal of Educational Psychology.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Social-Emotional Learning Perspectives

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which students develop interpersonal and intrapersonal competencies. This report presents findings from teachers and principals surveyed. These educators addressed questions about the importance and value of SEL in schools, their approaches to promoting and measuring SEL, and their opinions regarding supports for improving SEL. The findings should be useful to developers of SEL-related resources and to researchers, policymakers, and practitioners.
Key Findings
  • Large majorities of principals described SEL as a top priority.
  • Most educators rated a wide range of SEL skills as important; teachers tended to assign greater importance to SEL skills.
  • Educators believed that SEL programs can improve student outcomes and school climate.
  • Elementary educators tended to use programs and curricula; secondary school educators tended to use informal practices.
  • Educators reported using a variety of strategies; positive behavior systems and trauma-informed practices were common.
  • Majorities of educators reported receiving SEL training and that schools measured SEL.
  • Many educators reported that having more time would improve their school's ability to address SEL. 
Hamilton, L., Doss, C., & Steiner, E. (2019).Teacher and principal perspectives on social and emotional learning in America's schools. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.

Teachers unprepared to work with students having disabilities

Only 30% of general-education teachers feel "strongly" that they can successfully support students with learning disabilities, according to a recent survey by  About one-third of teachers surveyed said they have not received professional development on teaching students with special needs.
Forward together: Helping educators unlock the power students who learn differently. (2019).
National Center for Learning Disabilities and Understood.org.

The findings square with the conclusions of a survey conducted earlier this year. That survey found that special education teachers are concerned about the ability of general education teachers and supervisors to work with students who have disabilities. Of the special education teachers who participated in the 's survey, fewer than 15 percent thought their general education colleagues were highly prepared to work with students with disabilities. Both sets of teachers felt they weren't given ample time to plan with peers and had questions about their ability to co-teach with colleagues.
Survey: Ground-Level Perspectives on Special Education. (2019). Arlington, VA: Council for Exceptional Children.

The two surveys do highlight a key difference in how special education and general education teachers view IEPs: the special education teachers see the individualized education plans as essential documents that play a large role in determining student and teacher success; their general education colleagues are more likely view IEPs as mere paperwork. Of the general education teachers who participated in the National Center for Learning Disabilities and Understood survey, just 56 percent of teachers believed IEPs provide value to students, and just 38 percent believe IEPs improve their teaching.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Teen brain development

According to a new study, one in 4 Americans is a teenager or young adult, and the period represents some of the greatest peril and promise of their lives. Supports or inequities in adolescence are particularly likely to "get under the skin" of adolescents developing who they will be as adults. Emerging research identified adolescence and young adulthood—the period roughly from ages 10 to 24—as a second "critical window" of brain development after the early years. During this time, students become better at social learning, pattern recognition, and more responsive to changes in school and academic climates. Teenagers have been found to gain or lose as many as 20 IQ points during this period, making testing potentially less valid at the exact time it is used for critical decisions about their educational trajectory. Math or reading gender gaps can close or even flip. Teenagers' brain malleability, the research committee found, means that interventions during secondary school can help students overcome trauma or adversity in their early life. But adolescents also become increasingly aware of and damaged by bias, stereotypes, and institutional or social inequities, the report found, which can create "missed opportunities" for learning and becoming more resilient. Instructional interventions considered effective with younger students can suddenly backfire, and adolescents also have the greatest risk for developing mental illnesses or becoming involved in the justice system.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Technology’s Impact on Education – Digital Learning Tools in Classes

Education Week released a special report investigating the impact technology is having in K-12 schools as digital learning tools flood classrooms across the country. The report reveals that technology is failing to reach its full potential in K-12 schools, despite the rapid infusion of new devices and technologies into the classroom. Further, disparities in technology access and adoption, and in the ways new tools are integrated into instruction, may be fueling a new digital divide that threatens to exacerbate long-standing inequities and separate education’s haves and have-nots along new fault lines.  

Herold, B. (2017). Technology counts 2017: Classroom tech: Where schools stand. Bethesda, MD: Education Week.

Gender Differences in Writing and Reading

As early as the 4th grade, girls perform better than boys on standardized tests in reading and writing, and as they get older that achievement gap widens even more, according to one study. While the tests showed that girls, in general, scored significantly higher than boys in both reading and writing in the fourth grade, that gap widened further in eighth and 12th grades, and the difference was far more substantial for writing than it was for reading. The authors offered several theories to explain the findings. For instance, boys are statistically more likely to have a learning disability and they may also face peer pressure to conform to masculine norms, which could cause them not to make reading a priority.

Reilly, D., Neumann, D. L., & Andrews, G. (2018). Gender differences in reading and writing achievement: Evidence from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). American Psychologist. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/amp0000356